Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure in Women

Heart Fail Clin. 2019 Jan;15(1):55-64. doi: 10.1016/j.hfc.2018.08.006. Epub 2018 Oct 24.


Atrial fibrillation often occurs as a cause or consequence of heart failure. Clinical outcomes are worse when atrial fibrillation and heart failure coexist. There are important sex-related differences in the incidence, prevalence, pathophysiology, treatment, and outcomes of these patients. Women with heart failure are at greater risk of developing atrial fibrillation than men, and more women with atrial fibrillation develop heart failure. More women die of atrial fibrillation-related strokes. Despite significant morbidity and mortality, current treatments for women are inadequate. This review explores sex differences in atrial fibrillation and heart failure, emphasizing risk stratification and treatments to improve clinical outcomes.

Keywords: Diastolic heart failure atrial fibrillation; Rate control; Rhythm control; Systolic heart failure; Women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation* / complications
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / physiopathology
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / therapy
  • Female
  • Heart Failure, Diastolic* / epidemiology
  • Heart Failure, Diastolic* / etiology
  • Heart Failure, Diastolic* / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure, Diastolic* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Care Management / methods*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / mortality
  • Stroke / prevention & control
  • Treatment Outcome